RR Waterway Commission provides boat launch lighting, funds new jobs and brings bass tournament to area

This area is slated to get LED lighting for better visibility.

Lighting at the Colfax and Montgomery Recreation Areas on Red River will be much better once a conversion to LED is completed. The Red River Waterway Commission (RRWC) approved a project during their March meeting to convert street and boat ramp lighting from high pressure sodium to LED to improve visibility. Commissioners discussed the fact that several lights needed repairs that would require an electrician and bucket truck to perform. They determined it was cost effective to take the opportunity to upgrade. The low bid of $5,760 by East Gate Electrical was approved. Operations and Maintenance Director Mike Boydstun said the projects will be completed in April.

Comfort stations at several recreation areas, including Bishop Point in Caddo Parish, Red Oak in Red River Parish and the Natchitoches Recreation Area on Hampton Road are moving forward. The $600,000 design and construction projects are in the design stage.

In the Thursday, March 25, 2021, print edition

The RRWC purchased a UTV to replace an old one for the La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries to use at the Loggy Bayou WMA in Bossier Parish. Total for the purchase was $22,000. According to Luke Pearson, Real Estate Director for the RRWC, the RRWC contracted with LDWF to manage 2,138 acres of mitigation property at the Loggy Bayou site. The Corps of Engineers owns the property but the RRWC is responsible for the on-going maintenance and management costs, including the upkeep and replacement of all maintenance equipment. LDWF utilizes the UTV for operations and maintenance activities.

Since 1996, the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office (RRPSO) has utilized an office building at Lock & Dam 4, which is owned by the RRWC. The agreement is renewed every four years and was approved again at the March meeting. The RRPSO and the RRWC have a cooperative endeavor agreement whereby the Sheriff’s Department pays $1,200 per year in lease to the RRWC and provides patrols of all RRWC boat ramps and recreation areas in Red River Parish.

According to RRWC Marketing Director Eric Gilmore, the RRWC committed $387,903 to the Central Louisiana Regional Port Commission in Alexandria. This funding will be for the construction and design of a Specialty Chemical facility for the Port that will be leased to Avant Organics, LLC. This funding will cover the engineering and design and 10% of construction funding that will allow the Port to access $1.9M+ in funding from the LA DOTD Port Priority Program. The new company will be based at the Port and create 40 new direct jobs and 250+ indirect jobs.

The RRWC will approach the Mayor and Council of Natchitoches to get approval for a bass tournament, in which the City will provide space on the downtown riverbank for ceremonies, this November

Commissioners also mentioned the new Natchitoches Community Alliance Executive Director Mike Ferdinand will be instrumental in helping bring more business to the Natchitoches Port. The Natchitoches Community Alliance is an economic development agency.